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Daniel 5:5

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 95

Verse 5

No flashes of supernatural light, nor deafening peals of thunder, announced the interference of God in their impious revelries. A hand silently appeared, tracing mystic characters upon the wall. It wrote over against the candlestick. In the light of their own lamp they saw it. Terror seized upon the king; for his conscience accused him. Although he could not read the writing, he knew it was no message of peace and blessing that was traced in glittering characters upon his palace wall. And the description the prophet gives of the effect of the king’s fear cannot be excelled in any particular. The king’s countenance was changed, his heart failed him, pain seized upon him, and so violent was his trembling that his knees smote one against another. He forgot his boasting and revelry; he forgot his dignity; and he cried aloud for his astrologers and soothsayers to solve the meaning of the terrible apparition.DAR 95.3

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Belshazzar bade defiance to the judgments of God. Most historians consider that Cyrus then besieged Babylon. Security and sensuality are sad proofs of approaching ruin. That mirth is sinful indeed, which profanes sacred things; and what are many of the songs used at modern feasts better than the praises sung by the heathens to their gods! See how God struck terror upon Belshazzar and his lords. God's written word is enough to put the proudest, boldest sinner in a fright. What we see of God, the part of the hand that writes in the book of the creatures, and in the book of the Scriptures, should fill us with awful thoughts concerning that part which we do not see. If this be the finger of God, what is his arm when made bare? And what is He? The king's guilty conscience told him that he had no reason to expect any good news from heaven. God can, in a moment, make the heart of the stoutest sinner to tremble; and there needs no more than to let loose his own thoughts upon him; they will give him trouble enough. No bodily pain can equal the inward agony which sometimes seizes the sinner in the midst of mirth, carnal pleasures, and worldly pomp. Sometimes terrors cause a man to flee to Christ for pardon and peace; but many cry out for fear of wrath, who are not humbled for their sins, and who seek relief by lying vanities. The ignorance and uncertainty concerning the Holy Scriptures, shown by many who call themselves wise, only tend to drive sinners to despair, as the ignorance of these wise men did.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Fingers of a man's hand - The fingers were collected about the style or pen as in the act of writing.

Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 207.3

A holy Watcher notes every work and action of our lives, and weighs every motive that prompts to action. The hand that traced the characters on the wall of Belshazzar's palace is everywhere writing, “God is here.” God is in every place. All our words, all our plans, all our secret motives, are weighed in the balances of infinite justice and truth. UL 207.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 154.2

You have a work to do for your soul that no one else can do for you. Your course of error and wrong has been the means of helping others in the same direction. You were never alone. The same hand that traced the characters over against the wall of Belshazzar's palace was registering in the books of heaven the deeds and words that made Christ ashamed of you. You had no respectful courtesy for those whom you should have treated with respect and to whose wants you should have been attentive. These unholy things unfitted you to do the work of the Lord; but in your unholy hands you took your Bible and led the worship, and as mouthpiece for God you were foremost to preach to the people. Where was your conscience? Where was your humility? Where was your fear of God? Where was your faithful work to keep the Health Retreat up to the highest standard?—Letter 16, 1888 (written April 30, 1888). TSB 154.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1109

Through Christ the hidden glory of the holy of holies was to stand revealed. He had suffered death for every man, and by this offering the sons of men were to become the sons of God. With open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, believers in Christ were to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory. The mercy seat, upon which the glory of God rested in the holiest of all, is opened to all who accept Christ as the propitiation for sin, and through its medium, they are brought into fellowship with God. The veil is rent, the partition walls broken down, the handwriting of ordinances canceled. By virtue of His blood the enmity is abolished. Through faith in Christ Jew and Gentile may partake of the living bread (Letter 230, 1907). 5BC 1109.1

(Ch. 26:65; Daniel 5:5, 25-28; Hebrews 10:19, 20.) Israel a Nation Unchurched—In Christ the shadow reached its substance, the type its antitype. Well might Caiaphas rend his clothes in horror for himself and for the nation; for they were separating themselves from God, and were fast becoming a people unchurched by Jehovah. Surely the candlestick was being removed out of its place. 5BC 1109.2

It was not the hand of the priest that rent from top to bottom the gorgeous veil that divided the holy from the most holy place. It was the hand of God. When Christ cried out, “It is finished,” the Holy Watcher that was an unseen guest at Belshazzar's feast pronounced the Jewish nation to be a nation unchurched. The same hand that traced on the wall the characters that recorded Belshazzar's doom and the end of the Babylonian kingdom, rent the veil of the temple from top to bottom, opening a new and living way for all, high and low, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile. From henceforth people might come to God without priest or ruler (Manuscript 101, 1897). 5BC 1109.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW), 1107

16 (John 7). Christ's Sacrifice Provides Bounties—The rivers of blood that flowed at the harvest thanksgiving, when the sacrifices were offered in such large numbers, were meant to teach a great truth. For even the productions of the earth, the bounties provided for man's sustenance, we are indebted to the offering of Christ upon the cross of Calvary. God teaches us that all we receive from Him is the gift of redeeming love (The Review and Herald, November 10, 1896). 1BC 1107.1

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